FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 18, 2013 – Yankee Union had the lead late and came within a neck of winning the Holiday Cheer Stakes against males at Turfway in late December and returns Saturday as a new 4-year-old to take on a full field of fillies and mares in the $50,000 Likely Exchange.
Yankee Union has two seconds in two tries at Turfway, a third at the Likely Exchange's one-mile distance, and missed the money only once in nine starts last year. Tom Drury trains. Albin Jimenez, who has delighted players with double-digit win payoffs since racing returned to Turfway in December, has the mount.
Saturday's race will be the second start for Lotta Lovin since she finished far off the board in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland in October. In her first start back off the layoff she was a strongly closing third, beaten less than two lengths, in the Holiday Inaugural at Turfway. A multiple stakes winner, she goes back to two turns for the Likely Exchange after three sprint attempts and is training well at Turfway. Shane Sellers comes in to ride for trainer Mike Maker.
Fortune Play comes in to Saturday's race off two good allowance or optional allowance wins, one by daylight, one by grit, both at Turfway, and both at a mile. A stakes winner at Turfway a year ago in the Holiday Inaugural, she fired a best-of-12 work at Turfway on Sunday in preparation for the Likely Exchange. John Booker trains the 7-year-old mare. Dean Sarvis was aboard for both recent wins and rides again Saturday.
Bandi's Gal led every call or nearly every call to win her last two races, one at a mile and one at a mile and a sixteenth, also both at Turfway. She is three-for-five at Turfway and has won half of her six starts at the Likely Exchange distance. She steps up to stakes competition for the first time Saturday for trainer Laura Bealmear. Perry Ouzts rides.
The field for the Likely Exchange from the rail out: Whisked Away (jockey Tom Pompell, 118 lbs.); Yankee Union (118); Rattlin Gypsy (Amanda Tamburello, 118); Make a Toast (Ben Creed, 120); Dreamin Big (Rodney Prescott, 120); Fortune Play (120); Lotta Lovin (120); Precision Farming (Luis Martinez Jr., 118); Off Limits (Rafael Hernandez, 118); Bandi's Gal (120); Dixie Jackpot (Antonio Castanon, 118); and Brilliant Autumn (Greta Kuntzweiler, 118). Senacher remains on the also-eligible list.
The 23rd running of the Likely Exchange is the ninth of 10 races on Saturday's card. First post is 1:10 p.m.